4 pheasant breasts, about 600 g (1 lb 3 oz) in total
small bunch of sage
100 g (3½ oz) smoked pancetta, sliced
25 g (1 oz) butter
200 g (7 oz) shallots, halved if large
2 tablespoons plain flour
150 ml (1/4 pint) dry cider
150 ml (1/4 pint) chicken stock
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 dessert apple, cored and sliced
240 g (8 oz) can whole peeled chestnuts, drained
salt and pepper
steamed baby carrots, to serve


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Rinse the pheasant breasts with cold water, pat dry with kitchen paper and season well with salt and pepper.
2.Top each pheasant breast with a few sage leaves, then wrap in pancetta slices until completely covered.
3.Tie at intervals with fine string to keep the pancetta in place.
4.Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the shallots and fry for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Stir in the flour, then add the cider, stock and mustard.
5.Add the apple and chestnuts and a little extra salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring.
6.Arrange the pheasant breasts in the slow cooker pot. Pour the hot onion mixture over the top, cover with the lid and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until the pheasant is tender and cooked through to the centre.
7.Spoon on to plates, remove the string from the pheasant and serve with baby carrots.
8.FOR PHEASANT WITH BACON & RED WINE, lay 4 smoked streaky bacon rashers on a chopping board and stretch with the flat of a cook's knife until half as long again.
9.Add a sage leaf to each pheasant breast, then wrap each one with a stretched bacon rasher.
10.Fry as above with the shallots until the bacon is browned. Stir in the lour, then add 150 ml (2 pint) red wine in place of the cider, stock and mustard.
11.Omit the apple and instead add 8 halved ready-to-eat pitted prunes and the chestnuts. Cook as above.

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